April 22, 2012
Defending champion Tulsa withstood a strong challenge from Rice, but the Golden Hurricane closed out key points down the stretch to take their second consecutive C-USA title with a 4-2 win over the Owls at the Dunavant-Wellford Tennis Center in Memphis on Sunday.
Rice freshman Natalie Beazant won her 15th consecutive match and sophomore Kimberly Anicete added a straight-set win at the fifth singles position to provide the Owls with their points, but the 26th ranked Golden Hurricane used a comeback win in doubles and straight set wins at 2, 3 and 4 to capture the title.
"We battled and left it all on the court today. I told the team after the match I was so proud of the fight we showed, top to bottom," Rice head coach Elizabeth Schmidt said. "Tulsa was just too good today and played the key points a little better."
Beazant and Domnique Harmath, who entered the weekend ranked 33rd in doubles, completed and unbeaten weekend with a win over Tulsa's 71st ranked duo of Ewa Szatkowska and Anastasia Erofeeva to run their season mark to 18-4, including a 4-3 record against ranked opponents. Tulsa was able to secure the point after rallying from an early deficit to take the match at No. 2, 8-4.
Beazant's win in singles knotted the score at 1-1, and Anicete's win tied it again at 2-2. After Tulsa took a 3-2 lead, attention was divided between No. 2 and No. 6 singles. While Harmath was staking out a second-set lead on the second court, junior Daniella Trigo was putting on an inspired rally on the sixth court, keeping the Owls hopes alive for the title.
Trigo, who was playing just her second singles match of the spring and who had won just one game in two sets vs. Tulane on Saturday, bounced back from a 6-0 loss in the opening set to Tulsa's Bonny Davidson to extend her second set to a tiebreak. The two players continued to battle to no advantage, eventually walking off the court tied 11-11 after Tulsa clinched the match when 70th ranked Samantha Vickers defeated Harmath.
"That was a gutsy effort by Danny," Schmidt stated. "She battled in that second set and never gave up. Her effort was typical of what we gave on every court today."
Despite a top 40 ranking, the Owls prospects to extend their season with an NCAA bid are unsure at this time.
"We are on the bubble, and a lot will depend on what happens in conference tournaments to teams that are in front of us. But we have a solid resume and a very clean record. I feel like we definitely have a shot to keep playing," Schmidt concluded.
NCAA at large bids will be extended on May 1.
Tennis Match Results
Rice vs Tulsa
Apr 22, 2012 at Memphis, Tenn.
(Dunavant-Wellford Tennis Center)
#26 Tulsa 4, #40 Rice 2
1. #40 Natalie Beazant (RICE) def. #71 Anastasia Erofeeva (TLS) 6-1, 6-1
2. #70 Samantha Vickers (TLS) def. Dominique Harmath (RICE) 7-5, 6-4
3. Ewa Szatkowska (TLS) def. Katie Gater (RICE) 6-1, 6-1
4. Isaura Enrique (TLS) def. Ana Guzman (RICE) 7-5, 6-2
5. Kimberly Anicete (RICE) def. Michelle Farley (TLS) 7-5, 6-1
6. Bonny Davidson (TLS) vs. Daniela Trigo (RICE) 6-0, 6-6 (11-11), unfinished
1. #33 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. #71 Ewa Szatkowska/Anastasia Erofeeva (TLS) 8-4
2. Samantha Vickers/Bonny Davidson (TLS) def. Katie Gater/Ana Guzman (RICE) 8-4
3. Michelle Farley/Maria Sant'Anna (TLS) def. Kimberly Anicete/Daniela Trigo (RICE) 8-5
Rice 16-8; National ranking #40
Tulsa 22-3; National ranking #26
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (1,3,5,4,2)
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